You Ask, I Answer: Source/Medium for Google Analytics 4 in Data Studio?

Jakes asks, “I’ve moved 5 sites To Google Analytics 4, set up a host of custom events in Tag Manager to recreate what I’m missing from GA3, but where do find Source Medium Campaign In Data Studio With GA4? Am I missing something obvious?”

Yeah… it’s not there yet. That connector is still in beta, according to a Google employee, which seems like an oversight. I’ll show you the workaround for how to get source/medium data in Google Data Studio from your Google Analytics 4 data.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode Jake’s asks, I’ve moved five sites to Google Analytics for setup a host of custom events and Tag Manager to recreate what I’m missing from ga three.

But where do I find source medium campaign data in Google Data Studio with ga 4am? I missing something obvious? Yeah, ah, it’s not there yet.

Which seems like a bit of an oversight.

In fact, Jake went on to ask this exact question.

Let’s flip around here.

Yes, is the exact question to Google and a Google employee said it’s still in preview.

It’s not there yet.

But fields themselves may not be available in the API? Well, that’s not helpful since source medium is kind of one of those critical things you want to know.

So the question then is, what can we do to solve this problem is, is the data just not there is something Oh, what’s going on.

So there’s a couple different ways to handle this.

First, let’s figure out is the database so good and go into Google Analytics, one of the functions that we have access to it is in the advanced setup, is you have access to Google BigQuery, which is Google’s cloud database.

And if you have a Google Cloud account setup, which I would strongly encourage you to set one up, it doesn’t cost you any money out of the gate, it just cost storage time and money over time, you can connect to Google BigQuery database to your Google Analytics.

Now, this is advanced stuff.

But for the purposes of at least just being able to see the data, I think it’s essential.

So in BigQuery, I went into my database, and just started looking at what’s in the table.

And we see for every single interaction, you get these dozens and dozens and dozens of parameters.

Right? So this is the raw data from from Google Analytics.

This is one of the reasons By the way, why Google Analytics four will eventually be the gold standard for Google Analytics deployments.

Because it’s really hard to top this, like, pure raw data, it’s wonderful.

What you’ll notice here is that there is traffic source name, medium, and source.

So source medium, and name is in that which is a campaign.

This is a good thing.

This is This means that the data in fact, traffic source name, if you look at the formatting kinda looks like a default channel grouping, doesn’t it? It’s kind of interesting.

And the the the platform, whether it’s web or app, so the data is there.

It’s physically present, which means that we could get it into Google Data Studio, the challenges is going to be how do we get it into Google Data Studio? Well, one of the things that we can do in Data Studio is bring in data a BigQuery database natively.

So I’ve got my Google Analytics for data here.

Right, we can see, it’s, it’s right there.

And as Jakes was saying, when you look in the fields that are available, yes, source medium, totally absent, right? It’s not, it’s just not there.

So how do we do this? How do we get source medium data at all? Let’s go ahead and add some data.

I’m going to add Google BigQuery.

And we’re going to choose my BigQuery project.

Oops, like that.

And then choose my not not my real time database, but my regular database.

And look, as we’ve been talking about previous videos, Google Analytics for really is Google Firebase right.

And so there’s a an existing Firebase template already set up for us, we add that to our data source, oh, added to our report.

And now let’s go ahead and make a new chart.

And now for our chart, we’ve got our Firebase database here instead of Google Analytics, right? So let’s go ahead and we’ve got our event date there.

And instead of offset, let’s do unique users.

And now, you see acquired source acquired medium acquired campaign.

Now we’re starting to be able to see those different variables.

So let’s go ahead and add in sources of breakdown dimension.

Looking good, right now, we can start to see more clearly where our traffic is coming from.

And there are major sources if this is difficult to read, obviously switch the visualization to anything else that makes sense to you.

But now we’ve got our source medium data in here from Google Analytics the hard way, right, using the BigQuery database instead of the fact that the API does not have the data in it.

Now, this is a workaround.

Let’s be clear.

This is a workaround, isn’t it? Convenient workaround I would expect, based on the Google employees response, that this will not be the state of things going forward.

Right.

This is, while they figure out how to build all the pieces that need to be built to surround the Google Analytics ecosystem, this is the workaround.

I would hope that this is not permanent, because it’s silly.

But if you are deploying Google Analytics for right now, it is in your interest to do the BigQuery integration, and to have the BigQuery database available and collecting data so that if you do need to report on your ga four data for some reason, because it’s not right, clearly, for every business to be using right now, but if you didn’t need to do that report, and you have the option to pull in the BigQuery data and report on it natively within Google Data Studio.

This also speaks to the fact that Google Analytics for you in its entirety, as part of the ecosystem with Tag Manager analytics, and Data Studio is not ready for primetime yet, it is not something that you should be using as your system of record for your marketing data.

Should you have it? Yes.

Should you have it turned on? Yes.

Should you be collecting data? Yes.

Should you be relying on it for your mission critical reporting? knew? Not if you’re going to have to keep doing, you know, hacks and workarounds like this, just to get the data out of the platform or be pulling data straight out of your your BigQuery database now? Should you be doing advanced analytics and building on it? Probably, because what you see in BigQuery is the raw data, right? It is the raw data and that schema is well established.

So it’s already, it’s already established.

It’s been established.

It’s Google Firebase.

And thus, you could feel pretty confident in building code on top of the Firebase database.

But should you be relying on the GA four API? Definitely not.

So the workaround for bringing it into Data Studio is to use Firebase, the Firebase database until the GA four API gets updated within Google Data Studio, that will give you the ability to visualize this stuff a little more easily.

But know that the data is there.

Right.

That’s the important part, the data is there.

So it will eventually be available.

So you can feel confident, deploying Google Analytics for and knowing that it will collect all the data that it’s supposed to be, and build all those custom events, as Jake’s was talking about, get all this Custom Event setup and Tag Manager.

So you’re tracking all things you want to be tracking? Because remember, it’s never retroactive.

And then, as the product matures as the infrastructure overall, the Google Marketing Platform matures around Google Analytics for you’ll be able to do more and more with less and less headache.

So that’s the answer.

It’s a terrible answer.

But that’s the answer.

If you have follow up questions, leave them in the comments box below.

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